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Dear Volunteers and Student Interns,

It’s no secret, the world is in disarray.

It’s easy to panic, lose faith and give up when some of the things we are most familiar with within families, neighborhoods, schools, and mental health care are being challenged in such extreme ways that they no longer reliably support our safety and growth the way they used to. For the past three years, we have no doubt been experiencing profound changes, and not just here in Waltham, but around the country and around the world. Everyone is feeling the precariousness of our time, some a lot more than others.

In moments like these, one of the most important things to remember is that we have each other. In small ways, one act of kindness at a time can help us regain a sense of hope and direction. Our children feel the chaos around us, they take it in. And they can be resilient if we nurture values that strengthen our relationships. They can get through this with our modeling of compassion, collaboration and dedication to our community in small and big ways. We do this together.

When students and people volunteer in our communities, they give more than just their time. They give to the larger value of human kindness, they reinforce the societal tissues that make us resilient in difficult times. They bring a fresh perspective to old ways and help us be reminded of our mission to serve. They strengthen our purpose, remind us where we come from, and light up future possibilities.

Today we pause to thank our volunteers and students at ARTrelief. They spend many hours maintaining and enhancing our community spaces, and supporting children and adults navigate challenging times in their lives. They give to us, all while carrying their own personal burdens. I want to pause to underscore, say loudly and make bold that these services change people’s lives in long lasting, and intergenerational ways.

This. Is. Very. Important. Work.

When we create inclusive spaces, we give people the opportunity to develop social competence and strong interpersonal skills. These skills cannot be taught unless we are immersed in environments where people's differences and needs are visible, represented, and celebrated. Children raised in inclusive spaces become confident adults, comfortable in their own skin, with abilities to navigate the complexities of an integrated and democratic community. Inclusion supports the mental health and wealth of all people. This is how we build a better world, and a life worth living for all.

Your work, your efforts, your gifts are invaluable.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Cécile Rêve

ARTrelief co-founder


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